Who's Poppin?

BATS Theatre, Wellington

23/02/2009 - 27/02/2009

NZ Fringe Festival 2009

Production Details

Without Popping,
Hip Hop would never have happened.

Emerging writer and actor, Sopa Enari, performs Who’s Poppin?, a stylish mix of theatre and dance, featuring a live band and the godfather of New Zealand Hip Hop, DJ Raw, creating original beats for Who’s Poppin?

Who’s Poppin? is a devised dance show presented as part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival 2009 bringing together the very best of Wellington talent!

Who’s Poppin? Synopsis
Who’s Poppin? creates two characters, Fire and Ice, both who are surrounded by contrasting environments, shaping two opposing lives. Fire and Ice walk differently, they talk differently. Ice is middle class whereas Fire is lower working class. Ice is slick and seamless, whereas Fire is awkward and doesn’t give a fuck. Ice is sociable and gets on with most, even those he dislikes, he can talk to. But Fire just fucks everyone up.

The progression of these two lives builds until finally they encounter one another and confront each other for the first time. This meeting of opposing energies produces an epic conflict between Fire and Ice that results in a fusion that brings forth a brand new energy – ELECTRICITY!

Who’s Poppin?
Showing at Bats Theatre, Wellington,
1 Kent Terrace, Wellington
Mon 23 Feb – Fri 27 Feb, 8pm
Tickets $18 / $14, Fringe Card Holders $10
Bookings 04 802 4175 & book@bats.co.nz   

Elia Feterika DRUMMER
Natala Gwiazdzinski LIGHTING DESIGNER
Chris Ulutupu SET DESIGN
Tawata Productions, PRODUCER
Founded in 2001 by Hone Kouka, Tawata Productions has produces the very best of Māori and Pacific theatre, touring throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand and the world.

Innovation and humour in tight theatrical structure

Review by Jenny Stevenson 24th Feb 2009

Suga Pop, one of the legends of the West Coast USA hip hop movement known as Popping, visited New Zealand a few years back to give a Master Class in the dance form.  Sopa Enari in his show Who’s Poppin? quotes him as saying at that time, "if you haven’t got personality – don’t pop!"

Enari has a heap of personality and has also been mentored by Suga Pop himself: a Samoan who lived in New Zealand when he was young, before moving to the United States to achieve world-wide fame.

From this experience Enari has created Who’s Poppin?, a devised show using popping dance moves along with dialogue, mime, song and the music of DJ Raw (Ian Semanu, himself a hip hop pioneer) and drummer, Elia Fetarika.  Enari creates a number of personalities onstage that ‘battle’ in the traditional hip hop sense as he tells their stories.

There are some wonderful moments when traditional Samoan village life – casting a fishing net, shucking a coconut and making kava – performed to Fetarika’s drumming, is depicted through the medium of mime crossed with a mix of popping moves.  The result is a truly innovative theatrical form, which could be explored in much greater depth. 

There is a great deal of humour – self deprecating and physically manifested – with Enari employing a variety of instantly recognisable facial expressions.  This calls for, and is given, a vocal audience interaction.  The show is also something of a history of Hip Hop, not only in the United States but also in New Zealand, which lends an added dimension. 

Overall the theatrical structure is tight with very little extraneous material.  However the story-line sometimes becomes confused as Enari switches from part to part.  This would certainly clarify with a little direction.

The show concludes with a free-styling section, for both DJ Raw and Enari, which is obviously what the audience wanted to see.  Enari’s mastery of the form is impressive and it is in this pure dance section that his own personality is revealed, rather than those of the characters he has created.


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